Asean automotive market final


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Asean automotive market final

  1. 1. ASEAN Automotive MarketOverviewTen countries currently form the membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN). These countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined automotive sales in theASEAN’s six main markets, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, andMalaysia, declined by 10.2 percent in 2009 to approximately 1.9 million units, down from 2.1million in 2008. However, Vietnam and the Philippines actually increased (6.7 percent forVietnam and 6.4 percent for the Philippines) from 2008 to 2009. 1 Nevertheless, forecastssuggest combined vehicle sales in ASEAN’s top six markets are expected to exceed 2 millionunits in 2010, a slight increase over 2009, and slightly below 2008 figures. Some economies,however, will continue to fare much better than others. Government policies, such as scrappageschemes and fiscal stimulus policies, are positively stimulating the market and affording somemarkets an advantage over others.2 The Thai auto market, for example, has responded favorablyto tax incentives provided by the government for producers of “eco-cars.” In fact, the top threeauto markets in ASEAN: Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, have all taken advantage of variousgovernment schemes to promote a thriving auto industry. These markets will be the focus of thispaper.ASEAN EconomyDespite the global economic downturn, Asia’s emerging economies are recovering more quicklythan other parts of the world. According to The Economist, GDP and industrial productionfigures for emerging Asian economies have shown an impressive bounce in the second quarter.Singapore’s GDP soared 21 percent, Indonesia managed a respectable five percent increase, andother countries in the region are expecting a similar rebound.3 ASEAN has a combined GDP ofover $150 billion and a population of close to 600 million people. In 2009, total ASEANmerchandise trade was $1.5 trillion, a slight decrease from $1.71 trillion in 2008, and U.S.-ASEAN trade was nearly $146 billion ( an 18 percent decrease from 2008. 4 This makesASEAN our fifth largest export market, behind Canada, Mexico, China and Japan. Over the lastsix years, the United States has worked to deepen its relationship with the ten ASEAN countriesthrough both bilateral and regional strategies. One of the initiatives, the ASEAN-U.S. EnhancedPartnership, was launched in November 2005, and establishes a five-year plan for cooperation ina broad range of areas, including security, economic development, and education. The U.S.                                                            1  Tony Pugliese, “ASEAN automotive market review – Management briefing,” Just‐Auto, March/April 2010, p.1 2  Mark Bursa, “ASEAN automotive market review – Management briefing,” Just‐Auto, September 2009, p.1 3  “On the rebound,” The Economist, August 15, 2009, Vol. 392, Issue 8644, pp. 69‐72 4  ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Statistics, Selected Basic Economic Indicators, March 15, 2010 
  2. 2. Commerce Department has been actively working on standards cooperation projects withASEAN, including a number of successful workshops highlighting automotive biofuel standardsand a discussion of the United Nations’ 1998 versus 1958 Agreements on automotive technicalregulations. Other automotive-related workshops for 2009-2010 are under discussion.The economic integration of ASEAN benefits the United States since it makes ASEAN morecompetitive, encouraging economies of scale, lower costs, increased efficiency, and economicreforms. This is especially true in the automotive sector. In fact, according to Business Monitor“the ASEAN region and the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) have been instrumental inproviding a basis for trade and cooperation between not only the member states, but betweendivisions of the same company in different countries.”5 For example, Toyota’s innovativemultipurpose vehicle (IMV) project relies on the input of several different units throughoutemerging markets to produce vehicles by the most efficient and cost-effective means. Initiated atthe 4th ASEAN Summit in Singapore in January 1992, AFTA provides for regional tariffreductions, elimination of non-tariff barriers, harmonized customs nomenclature, intra-regionalliberalization of trade in services, and regional IPR cooperation. ASEAN is seeking to build aEuropean Union (EU)-like community by 2015 for all of its members. Under the AFTA, allinternal tariffs on manufactured products have been lowered to 0-5 percent, as applied by thecommon effective preferential tariff (CEPT). Thailand has been particularly successful in takingadvantage of low tariff rates throughout the region. All of the top selling commercial vehicles,including the Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton, most Nissan Navaras, the Holden Colorado,Isuzu D-Max, Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50, come from Thailand.6 In fact, Thailand hasbecome the world’s second largest market for the one-ton pickup truck behind the United States,making Thailand a regional production and export hub.The ASEAN Industrial Cooperation Scheme (AICO) has also had a major impact on automotivetrade within the region. Under the AICO program, approved companies are eligible to benefitimmediately from the AFTA 0-5 percent preferential tariff rate, for trade in approved items. Inthe automotive sector this applies to completed vehicles, parts, half finished goods and materials.In order to qualify, products must have 40 percent ASEAN content and demonstrate resourcesharing between participating companies. In addition, ASEAN members are required to abolishthe localization arrangements in each country as well as the import tariff exemptions and localcapital requirements.Overview of the Top Three Auto Markets in the RegionThailandThe automotive sector in Thailand is one of the key sectors in the Thai economy, continuing togrow at around 8.1 percent of GDP, despite political unrest.7 Thailand has been trying to moveup the value chain to differentiate itself from China. New sectors of the economy, includingpetrochemicals, the auto sector, and food processing, are all now achieving robust growth. In2009, Thailand produced 999,378 vehicles, and over half of these (536,000) were exported.8                                                            5  Business Monitor International “Commercial Segment Key Driver of Asian Growth,” March 26, 2008, p. 5  6  “Thai the knot,” GoAuto News Market Insight Report, August 5, 2009, No. 494, pg. 18 7  Business Monitor International, “Thailand Industry Trend Analysis”,  Q2 2010, May 17, 2010,p. 1 8  Business Monitor International, “Thailand Industry Forecast”, Q2 2010, March 12, 2010, p 1 
  3. 3. Over the past few years, Thailand has joined China and India as primary production bases forexports to the rest of the world. The government of Thailand made a decision in the 1980s topromote truck production rather than following Malaysia’s lead with a national car program suchas the Proton. In fact, excise taxes for vehicles range from 30 – 50 percent, and pick-up trucksare taxed at a rate of three percent. As a result, pick-up trucks account for nearly 70 percent ofall vehicles produced and over 50 percent of domestic sales.9 Moreover, high import duties keepimports low (especially from regions outside of ASEAN), while approximately 40 percent oflocally produced vehicles and trucks are exported. Thailand also exports vehicle parts, primarilyto the rest of Southeast Asia, and with the consolidation of the AICO scheme, this is onlyexpected to grow.Owing to strong local demand, total domestic sales by volume expanded rapidly fromapproximately 297,000 units in 2001 to almost 549,000 units in 2009. However, 2009 salesdecreased 10.8 percent over 2008 sales of 615,00010 The Thai Automotive Industry Associationforecasts that domestic sales will grow slightly to 590,000 in 2010, an increase of seven percentyear-on-year.11 This is mostly reflected by higher agricultural prices, higher tourism receipts,and fiscal stimulus policies, which have contributed to an increase in higher consumer demandfor big-ticket purchased.12 Production fell by 28.3 percent in 2009 to 999,378 units, but was stillhigher than most predictions. Because of the increase in higher local demand and improvedexternal demand, production improved dramatically in the fourth quarter of 2009. If productionvolume was replicated in the other quarters, the results would have looked very similar to 2008.Given this uptick in production volumes, it is predicted that vehicle production will rise 6.5percent year-on-year to 1.065 million units in 2010.13In terms of export volume, vehicle exports were higher than expected in 2009 thanks mainly to abetter showing in the second half of the year. Vehicle exports reached 535,565 units in 2009, adecrease of 31 percent, compared to 775,652 units exported in 2008. Exports are expected torise slightly to 563,000 units in 2010.14 More than 40 vehicle models compete in the Thaimarket, but Japan’s vehicle manufacturers control nearly 90 percent of the market. Toyota hasthe largest overall market share, accounting for over 42 percent of market share in the thirdquarter of 2009, while Isuzu (in partnership with General Motors) held around 20 percent in thatyear. Honda accounts for around 17 percent, and is followed by Nissan and Mitsubishi, both ofwhich have shares of around 9 percent of the market. GM (Chevrolet) and Ford sales togetherrepresented only four percent of market share for the same time period.15The Government of Thailand (GOT), in hopes of repeating the success of its pickup truckproduction focus, has encouraged manufacturers of low-emissions cars to produce in Thailand.This program called “eco-cars,” provides incentives to automakers that build small and fuel-efficient cars which meet Euro 4 emissions standards and consume less than 5 liters per 100 km.Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) offers up to eight years’ corporate tax breaks and duty-                                                            9  U.S. Trade Representative, “2010 National Trade Estimates Report for Foreign Trade Barriers – Thailand”, p. 358 10  Business Monitor International, “Thailand Industry Forecast,” Q2 2010, March 12, 2010, p.1 11  Ibid, p. 1 12  Ibid, p. 1 13  Ibid, p.18 14 Ibid, p. 18 15  Business Monitor International, Thailand Autos Report Q2 2010, March 2010, p. 23 
  4. 4. free import of related machinery and equipment to companies investing in the manufacturer ofsmall eco-cars. The BOI is also considering giving manufacturers of eco-cars a two-year tariffreduction of as much as 90 percent on imported parts.16 The BOI has given the go-ahead forseven international auto manufacturers to produce low-emission vehicles under its “eco-car”initiative. Following Honda’s lead as the first manufacturer to propose a green car productionproject in the country, Suzuki Motor, Siem Nissan Automobile (SNA), Toyota, Mitsubishi, TataMotors and VW have also been given the green light. The slowdown in the market, however,has made auto companies question whether these projects can now be viable. Recently, TataMotors has reconsidered its commitment because it doubts it can reach the stipulated minimumannual capacity of 100,000 units for five years. Nissan Motor, on the other hand, is still on trackto launch its compact car built under the program in 2010.17The Thai Government is working with major automakers in order to prepare a draft of the nextfive-year strategic plan for the country’s automotive industry.18 Mitsubishi is lobbying thegovernment to support production of electric vehicles, and some in the Thai Government believethat the eco-car program may be outdated. The eco-car scheme was the result of a decline indemand for one-ton pickup trucks, which was a staple of the Thai automotive industry. It wasbased on increasing the production of fuel efficient, smaller vehicles. In another reaction toindustry views, plans in 2006 to back the E20 mix of ethanol and gasoline as the government’salternative fuel of choice were scrapped in favor of compressed natural gas (CNG), which wasthought to be in more plentiful supply.19 Toyota has taken advantages of these shifts with itslaunch of a Corolla sedan CNG later in 2009, in addition to a hybrid of the Camry sedan,launched in July of 2009. Hyundai is also marketing a CNG-powered model to promote savingson fuel bills.MalaysiaDue to domestic national car programs and a focus on car sales and production, Malaysia hasretained the highest level of passenger car sales in ASEAN for 2009 with 486,342 vehicles sold.For example, Malaysia’s closest rival in the region in terms of passenger car vehicles inoperation is Indonesia, which only totaled 4.8 million in 2008, compared with 7.2 million forMalaysia.20 By yearend 2009, total sales in Malaysia were down two percent to 536,905 unitsand production was also down 7.8 percent (489,269 units). 21 Despite a relatively lacklusterperformance in the first six months of 2009, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA)states that the last quarter was especially strong with a 20 percent increase in sales year-on-yearin December 2009. Lower exports were offset by higher domestic demand. MAA has recentlyforecasted domestic sales to be 544,260 units in 2010, only a 1.3 percent increase year-on-year.22                                                            16  The Economist Intelligence Unit, “Economic performance: Vehicle manufacturers continue to face troubles,” Thailand Country Report, August 2, 2009 17  Business Monitor International, Competitive Landscape, Thailand,Q2 2010, March 12, 2010, p.3  18  Ibid, p.4 19  Ibid, p.11 20  Ward’s, pp. 29 and 47 21  Business Monitor International, Malaysia Industry Forecast,  Q2 2010, February 1, 2010, p. 1 22  Ibid, p.7 
  5. 5. The government-backed scrappage program has helped boost the market, similar to those inEurope over the last few years. Under this program, owners can trade in cars, which are tenyears or older, in return for a $1,422 discount when they purchase a new Proton or Peroduavehicle (both “national cars”). Since the scrappage program was announced, Proton has issuedalmost 17,000 discount vouchers.23Malaysia has an indigenous vehicle industry, a sizeable automotive component sector, and someresearch and development (R&D) capability. The industry began life in the mid-1960s,assembling vehicles for European and Japanese carmakers. A new phase began in 1983, whenthe government established Proton, the first national car project, with help from a Japaneseconglomerate, Mitsubishi. In 1992, a second national car project, Perodua, came into existence,with help from Daihatsu. In total, there are four manufacturers and ten assemblers. These aresupported by 590 manufacturers of components and parts.The development of Malaysia’s automotive industry over the past three decades has beendependent on strong protection provided by the government. Consequently, liberalization in thevehicle industry has been slow. In October 2009, the government released its new NationalAutomotive Policy (NAP), which focuses on sustainability of the domestic industry, with moremarket opening for foreign brands. It is especially interested in streamlining its domesticindustry to two national high volume car producers, Proton and Perodua. The government hopesto encourage cooperation between the two domestic auto producers and international companiesin order bring in “best practice management” to the industry and raise standards. 24 Malaysia hasmade progress in other areas as well. For example, under AFTA, Malaysia has reduced importtariffs, admittedly after having secured a two-year deferral from ASEAN. Import tariffs oncompletely built-up (CBU) unites were reduced from a band of 70 – 90 percent to 20 percent atthe start of 2005. For completely knocked-down kits, the import tariff has been cut from 25percent to zero. Import duty on CBUs was cut further in 2006, from 40 percent to 5 percent, butthe government then imposed steep excise taxes to make up for lost revenue. In January 2007,the ceiling on excise taxes was reduced from 125 percent to 100 percent.25IndonesiaDemand for motor vehicles in Indonesia picked up sharply between 2003 and 2005, recoveringfrom a slump cause by the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-98. However, substantially higher fuelprices, a sharp spike in inflation and higher interest rates all contributed to another collapse in2006. Demand has since recovered, with an expected sales increase of at least five percent in2010, as well as a boost in production (which fell by 22 percent in 2009).26 In 2009, vehiclesales dropped by 20 percent to 486,061 units from a record high of 607,805 units in 2008.Indonesia overtook Malaysia in 2008 to become to become the second-largest car market inASEAN behind Thailand, but dropped back behind Malaysia again in 2009.27 According to                                                            23  Bursa, p.7 24  Business Monitor International, Malaysia Auto Report Q2 2010, February 2010, p.26 25  U.S. Trade Representative, “2010 National Trade Estimates Report for Foreign Trade Barriers – Malaysia,”  p. 252 26  Business Monitor International, Indonesia Industry Forecast Q2 2010, February 23, 2010, p. 1,  27  Business Monitor International, Indonesia Autos Report Q2 2010, February 2010, p.7, and Malaysia Auto Report Q2 2010, February 2010, p.17  
  6. 6. Bloomberg, the combined number of cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles in Indonesia increased71 percent to 72 million vehicles last year from 2004. Road construction grew seven percentduring the same period.28 The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts an average growth rate of14 percent in consumer demand during 2008-12.29 The passenger vehicle segment dominatesthe automotive market in Indonesia, with mini-vans and multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) inextensive use for both personal and commercial operations.Domestic manufacturers serve as the assemblers for foreign, primarily Japanese, motor vehiclecompanies. The government’s Automobile Policy of 1999, which substantially reduced importduties on vehicles and vehicle parts (though still high by international standards), has had apositive effect on the industry. In particular, the reduction in duties on motor vehiclecomponents has lowered the cost base of the motor vehicle assembly industry, leading toincreased production. Indonesia’s membership in AFTA has been an additional factor in helpingto reduce import costs and facilitating exports since the start of 2003. Investment in productionfacilities, geared in part towards the export market, has become increasingly common.Vehicle export volumes, primarily to Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, are relatively low, but arebeginning to rise, as Indonesia’s importance as a production base within the Southeast Asianregion increases. Toyota Astra, a subsidiary of Japan’s largest carmaker, Toyota, accounts forabout 90 percent of the Indonesian car exports.The large size of the Indonesian population and the low level of car ownership in the countrysuggest there is a lot of potential for expansion in the automotive industry. For example, in2007, only one in every thirty-five people in Indonesia owned a car, compared with one infourteen in Thailand and one in seven in Malaysia. The sector was deregulated and liberalized in1999, and is one of the most competitive sectors in the Indonesian economy. When the currentgovernment came to power in 2004 infrastructure improvements, especially in roads, was aprimary focus. However, the roads are still poor and inadequate. Roads are of poor quality,heavy congestion in urban areas is a major problem, and fuel supplies have been erratic. InAugust of this year, Indonesia’s parliament approved a tax bill that will allow local governmentsto increase tariffs on car and motorcycle owners who have more than one vehicle. The new lawwill annually tax owners for their second and successive vehicles at a levy of two to 10 percentof a sum based on the region’s road conditions and the value of the car sales. Local governmentsare asked to allocate at least 10 percent of this tax source for transport infrastructure projects intheir regions.30Relief intentions and efforts appear to be on the way. For example, the Indonesian Governmentincreased its 2008 budget by 41 percent to fund the building of new roads and for improving andmaintaining existing ones. However, it has repeatedly failed to spend its allocated resources,mainly due to difficulties with land procurement for toll roads. Politically-connected landspeculators have sometimes secured ownership of land needed for toll roads, inflating the cost ofprojects with their huge price demands. This has also deterred private investors from building                                                            28  Woro Widya Utami and Achmad Sukarsono, “Indonesia will tax multiple vehicles,” Bloomberg, August 20, 2009, find article at‐will‐tax‐mulitple‐vehicles 29  The Economist Intelligence Unit, “Economic performance: Leading indicators of growth paint a positive picture,” Indonesia Country Report, September 8, 2009 30  Utami and  Sukarsono 
  7. 7. roads. Last January, a law was passed that caps the cost of land acquisition for infrastructureprojects at 110 percent of the original estimate in the planning stage, with the governmentmaking up the difference. This should be a welcome step for investors. Until substantialimprovements are made to the road network, it will remain a hindrance to the automotive sector.Indonesia plans to follow in the footsteps of Thailand by offering incentives for the production offuel-efficient cars. The incentives are not expected to be available before 2012, but automotivemanufacturers are pleased that producing “greener” vehicles will become more competitive.Toyota has gone ahead with the launch of its latest Prius hybrid, but has said that it urged thegovernment for years to provide incentives for producing low-cost eco-friendly cars. The eco-carin Thailand has been relatively successful in attracting investment, securing at least 700,000units of new capacity due to its rule of an additional output of at least 100,000 units per year.Nonetheless, Indonesia is still expected to be one of the better performing economies in theASEAN region and this should be reflected in vehicle purchases and annual sales data.31                                                            31  Business Monitor International, Asia Pacific Automotives Insight, “Industry News – Incentives Aim at ‘Green’ Car Production,” July 28, 2009